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Med Sci Law. 2016 Jul;56(3):163-6. doi: 10.1177/0025802416653584.

Undergraduate teaching of forensic medicine in Saudi Arabia.

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College of Medicine, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Melbourne, Australia Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Forensic Medicine Centre, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, UAE.
College of Medicine, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Forensic Medicine Centre, Jizan, Saudi Arabia.


Medico-legal tasks are not exclusive to forensic medical experts -any physician may face medico-legal issues in his career. Hence, the practice of medicine requires education in legal issues. In Saudi Arabia, there are 30 universities with medical colleges, but we do not know how they teach undergraduate forensic medicine and medico-legal issues. The aim of this study was to discover undergraduate training courses in forensic medicine in Saudi universities. We conducted a cross-sectional study involving all colleges of medicine in Saudi Arabia. A structured, self-administered questionnaire containing 13 items relating to the undergraduate forensic medicine course was distributed. Out of a total of 30 universities, 27 universities responded. Of these 27 universities, 16 (59.26%) teach forensic medicine to undergraduate medical students, and 11 (40.74%) do not teach forensic medicine in their undergraduate curriculum. Of the 27 universities that responded, none has a department of forensic medicine. Eleven universities that do not teach forensic medicine have no forensic medicine unit/division or faculty at all. Forensic medicine belongs to the pathology department in 11 universities, while it belongs to different departments in five universities. There is variation in teaching methods, years where the course is taught and length of the course. Practical and morgue visits take place in 7/16 (43.8%) universities, while 9/16 (56.3%) universities only teach the theoretical aspects of forensic medicine. All 16 universities teach forensic medicine only to medical students and do not teach it to students in other colleges such as dentistry and nursing.


Forensic medicine; Saudi Arabia; medical education; undergraduate medical student

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